THE FREEDOM DEFENDER FLIPPER CQC-7 IS AN EDC TO BE RECKONED WITH
Ten minutes. A lot can happen in 10 minutes. You can organize your sock drawer, read a good article, cook a pack of ramen noodles, or miss out on a chance to meet UFC Hall of Fame member Randy “The Natural” Couture. I have to admit, that last one stung a bit.
During my rounds at the 2017 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, I headed over to the Emerson Knives booth to take a look at their new products. I was shown the Freedom Defender Flipper CQC-7, done in collaboration with Randy Couture and Affliction Clothing. As I marveled over how nice the knife was and heard the story behind it, I made the immediate decision that it would be the cover knife for this issue. It was at that time I was told that if I had been there just 10 minutes earlier, I could have met
Randy. Darn the bad luck! Oh well, at least I get to tell the story of this amazing knife and the work Randy is doing for our veterans—easing their physical, psychological and financial hardships through his Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation.
When I was first handed the Freedom Defender Flipper CQC-7, there were many things that immediately stood out to me. Although it had the clearly recognizable Emerson look, it had some elements that really made it pop.
The Freedom Defender sports the familiar textured, black, G-10 epoxy/glass laminate handle scales that you have come to know from the Emerson line of knives, but they’re set off beautifully by the red aerospace-grade titanium liners and pocket clip screws. The red liners and screws give it just enough zing to really make the Freedom Defender come to life. Emerson also pulled out all the stops on this knife when it comes to accessing the blade in a hurry. You have three options for bringing the knife to bear—the Emerson Wave feature, a large flipper that acts as a very comfortable finger guard when open, and the thumb button. Any one of these options would be enough to make the blade very accessible at a moment’s notice, but to have all three increases your odds of having your blade out, even under duress. Opening the Freedom Defender is very smooth and catchfree through the whole action, with the blade coming to its final open position with a clean audible snap of the liner lock. When closing the blade, you can feel the detent pull the blade back into the closed position, with a nice click, holding the blade firmly in place.
“… AT LEAST I GET TO TELL THE STORY OF THIS AMAZING KNIFE AND THE WORK RANDY IS DOING FOR OUR VETERANS—EASING THEIR PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS THROUGH HIS XTREME COUTURE G.I. FOUNDATION.”
The Freedom Defender CQC-7 sports a 3.3-inch chisel-ground tanto blade,
made of CPM S35VN stainless steel, which has an almost diamond-cut look, made by the gorgeous hard lines of the tanto grind combined with the tasteful swedge on the drop point. The Freedom Defender has a 32-degree edge bevel on the grind side, while the flat side has a micro bevel from stropping off the burrs. On the grind side of the blade, you will find the traditional Emerson logo and model designation with the knife number, while the flat side of the blade is adorned with the “Affliction Freedom Defender” foundation crest with eagle, star and flag elements. Every part of this project displays all-american pride.
“… THE FLAT SIDE OF THE BLADE IS ADORNED WITH THE ‘AFFLICTION FREEDOM DEFENDER’ FOUNDATION CREST WITH EAGLE, STAR AND FLAG ELEMENTS. EVERY PART OF THIS PROJECT DISPLAYS ALL-AMERICAN PRIDE.”
The pocket clip, which is emblazoned with the Affliction logo, is tight and holds the Freedom Defender securely in the pocket. The Freedom Defender is made for right pocket, tip up carry only, as there are no other options for clip position—which is common with Emerson knives, due to the chisel grind and Wave feature. Just behind the clip, on the butt, is the nice, full-size, lanyard hole for affixing a lanyard. (This allows a little easier draw of the knife, even when under duress.) You can add one of Emerson’s lanyards, available on their website, or something else of your own liking, as I did.
Through the Paces
During the testing phase of this review, I was quite happy with the way that the Freedom Defender performed. Having carried it for a time now, I really like the way it rides in the pocket—it
rides low enough to not be obtrusive, while having just enough sticking out of the top of the pocket to get a good purchase on the knife for a solid draw utilizing the Wave feature. It has a fairly narrow profile, so it doesn’t take up too much of the pocket, getting in the way of keys and other items you may like to carry in the same side.
For my first test, I wanted to check the slashing power of the chisel grind, so I took two water bottles and stood them up, one at a time, taking a couple slashes at each. Although the 3.3-inch blade was not as long as the bottles were wide (preventing me from getting all the way through from front to back), I was able to cut very cleanly without knocking the bottles down. Next, I took a cantaloupe, stood it on end and proceeded to deliver a battery of slashes, all of which cleanly sliced through the cantaloupe without knocking it over.
Next, I wanted to test the penetration power of the tanto point, so I placed a piece of leather onto a phonebook, and with one stabbing motion, I was able to pierce cleanly all the way through the phonebook, with the tip protruding out the other side and a bit into my table. I believe that the Freedom Defender will have no issues with being able to penetrate any subject matter you may put before it.
Finally, I wanted to test its slicing capabilities, so I started with the same phonebook, where I simply pressed
the blade down through the corner on the binding side and cut it off cleanly. I followed this with another test by laying down double-layered cardboard and slicing it into pieces. It wasn’t until I moved the pieces out of the way that I realized I was not only cutting the cardboard but the table as well, with no damage to the edge. I then cut a mountain bike tire (after cutting the metal bead with a wire cutter so I wouldn’t damage the blade) and it sliced right through it like there was a prize on the inside. Finally, I performed my typical rope press-cut test, where I simply try to press the knife through a piece of 1/2-inch climbing rope. As I had expected, due to the geometry of
a chisel grind, I was not able to press through the rope, so I proceeded to slice through and was able to get clean slices with no issue.
“WITH ITS SLEEK STYLING AND AGGRESSIVE FUNCTIONALITY, THIS KNIFE IS A MUST-HAVE FOR ANY EMERSON FAN OR ANYONE LOOKING FOR AN EDC BLADE THAT IS ALL BUSINESS.”
By the end of my testing, I found that the knife was quite comfortable and the edge held up very well and was still able to cleanly cut paper. All in all, the Freedom Defender held up well and was very comfortable in the hand.
All Business EDC
Perhaps it’s my background in martial arts and combatives, but Emerson Knives have always had my attention, ever since my first Emerson Karambit that I purchased many years ago, and still have today. The Freedom Defender CQC-7 is no exception.
With its sleek styling and aggressive functionality, this knife is a must-have for any Emerson fan or anyone looking for an EDC blade that is all business. What’s more, when you purchase the Freedom Defender you can rest with the fact that you are taking part in something bigger by partnering with Randy Couture, Affliction Clothing and Emerson Knives to help our veterans when they need it the most. God bless America and those that defend her. KI
Right: The blade is a chisel grind tanto blade with an almost diamond-cut look, thanks to the hard lines on the grinds and the swedge on the drop point.
Above: The oversized flipper acts as a finger guard when the Freedom Defender is open.
Top Right: The thumb button can be removed and replaced with an upgraded thumb button from Emerson—to dress it up a bit more—if desired.
Bottom Right: The thumb jimping aids in greater control during slicing tasks.
Top: During my testing, I got some very clean slashes on a cantaloupe without knocking it over.
Middle: When stabbing into a phonebook and leather swatch, I pierced right through the phonebook and slightly into the table below.
Bottom: I pressed the blade all the way through to cut off the entire corner of a phonebook at the spine side.
Using the tip, I sliced through two thick layers of cardboard (and even into the table) with no signs of wear on the blade.
Top: I cut a mountain bike tire (after cutting the metal bead with wire cutters) cleanly and quickly. Left Circle: The pocket clip is adorned with the Affliction logo and holds the Freedom Defender firmly in the pocket.
Right Circle: The flat side of the blade includes the Affliction Freedom Defender foundation crest.
The Freedom Defender Flipper CQC-7 is a solid EDC with hardcore action in mind.